Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 and 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, they have not been infected.

The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:

  • cough;
  • difficulty in breathing; and/or
  • fever.

Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, such as older people and/or those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. There is no evidence that children are more affected than other age groups – very few cases have yet to have been reported in children.

How is COVID-19 spread?

From what we know about other coronaviruses, spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • students/staff who feel unwell (or develop high temperature or a new cough) should stay at home for 7 days;
  • washing your hands often - with liquid soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport; covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. Students, staff and visitors should wash their hands

1) before leaving home;
2) on arrival at college;
3) after using the toilet;
4) after breaks and sporting activities;
5) before food preparation;
6) before eating any food, including snacks; and
7) before leaving college.

  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell; 
  • if you are worried about your symptoms or those of a child or colleague, please visit the Coronavirus COVID-19 page on the NHS Direct website. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment;
  • see the latest information about coronavirus on the Public Health England website.

Actions taken by the College to support the wellbeing of students and staff

College leaders have been working to establish a continuity plan in response to the pandemic. This also includes planning for delivery of activities in the situation of a forced closure and planning for a return to 'usual practice' should a short-term and/or long-term closure take place.

Preventative measures have been introduced, including:

  • Establishing a critical incident team to plan for all eventualities;
  • Identify members of the community (student and staff) with underlying medical conditions which place them in the 'at risk' group;
  • Raising awareness of the symptoms closely linked to COVID-19 and the precautionary measures through visual displays;
  • Purchased additional quantities of alcohol-based hand santiser and liquid soap;
  • Additional cleaning of the regularly touched surfaces throughout the college day i.e. door handles, handrails etc; and
  • As of 16th March 2020, all non-essential activities will be either postponed or cancelled i.e. sporting fixtures and visiting speakers.

In the event of a full/partial college closure (short-term and/or long-term)

The College will only close where there is direct guidance/recommendation from appropriate authorities e.g. Public Health England and/or where there are insufficient numbers of staff available to safely deliver an education to students. In the event of a college closure, staff will not be able to access the College site. Therefore, in this situation the College will:

  • Provide students in all year groups (with increased support for those students preparing to sit public examinations in the summer) with online materials to facilitate distance learning;
  • Provide paper-based materials for those students who do not have access to either a mobile device and/or internet (as part of the preparation phase the college will seek to identify where this is the case);
  • Communicate with families/students on a regular basis to provide updates on recovery phase ie. safe return to normal college life.

Upon return to 'normal practices' the College will:

  • Undertake a learning audit for examination classes to identify skills-gaps in readiness for the summer series;
  • Communicate with relevant awarding bodies to make them aware of any requirements for special considerations;
  • Respond to any ongoing support required for students and/or staff. This may include counselling services.

Communication

Throughout the UK Government response phases to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) the College will work closely with relevant authorities to make decisions which are in the interests of the all members of the community. However, to support the safety, wellbeing and continued learning of students, the College asks that all families:

  • Sign up to the College Twitter feed @StCharlesSFC to be able to access relevant information in the eventuality of a partial/full closure;
  • Ensure that the College has the correct email address in order to maintain communication throughout the process;
  • Talk to students about hygiene practices and make use of relevant sites to reduce anxiety.

Useful Information

UK Government (COVID-19)

Public Health England

NHS Direct

Update – 17/03/20

  • If any person in a household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must self-isolate at home for 14 days
  • Large social gatherings should be avoided
  • Schools will remain open for now

Update - 18/03/20

There has been no update to the advice or guidance overnight. The situation remains as follows:

  • If any person in a household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must self-isolate at home for 14 days
  • Large social gatherings should be avoided
  • Schools will remain open for now

Update - 19/03/20

Further to the government announcement yesterday, schools and colleges in England will now be closed to the majority of students from the end of the school day on Friday 20th March. 

A letter will be sent to all parents and guardians today to explain the situation and the steps that the College is taking. Please click here to read the letter.

A letter will also be sent to all students containing important information on what is expected over the closure period. Please click here to read the letter.

Government advice remains:

  • If any person in a household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must self-isolate at home for 14 days
  • Large social gatherings should be avoided

Update - 03/04/20

Following the government enforced lock down, the Principal has sent out a letter updating all Parents, Students and Staff on the key messages and actions. Guidance and information regarding the 2020 summer exam grades were also attached. These letters are available via the downloads below.

Page Downloads Date  
Letter to Families Novel Coronavirus (CO... 16th Mar 2020 Download
Letter to Parents - Coronavirus School C... 19th Mar 2020 Download
Principal's Letter to Students 19th Marc... 19th Mar 2020 Download
Letter to Parents 3rd April 2020 03rd Apr 2020 Download
Letter to Students 3rd April 2020 03rd Apr 2020 Download
Summer 2020 grades guidance for teachers... 03rd Apr 2020 Download